Just a few days ago, on October 5th, I celebrated the anniversary of my graduation from the US Navy’s Officer Candidate School (OCS). I won’t give away myself too much, but it was a long time ago, so long ago that the school is no longer located in Pensacola, Florida, but rather Newport, Rhode Island, after military base consolidations in the early to mid 2000s caused the move.
It was on that day that I was awarded my commission as an officer, an ensign to be exact, and would be granted my first salute. And over the next several years (over a decade and nearly two of them) I would be transported from being not just an officer on land, in the air, and on the sea, but into a classroom as a professor at a major university, followed by the opportunity to attend medical school to obtain my boyhood dream of becoming a physician and serving others in that capacity. To be frank, it has been one HELL of a journey. My recent book Exceptional Every Day does not give the journey the justice it deserves.
And what is so interesting for me now is that I am the family and sports medicine physician for that navy school that I once attended before I really knew anything about what it meant to be a “real” leader.
But this day also reminds me of a “young” man’s birthday. My commanding officer from the Naval ROTC unit that I taught at. And if it weren’t for him I would not have been able to connect with the football team that I ended up devoting my time to (and building relationships with so many amazing people) nor would I have been granted the transition to my current life of serving in such a capacity.
Needless to say, this day, October 5th has much meaning in my life. I shared my OCS graduation with my roommate from college, who also after many years and several deployments is still journeying along in the navy, along with another officer who I would graduate on that special day with and then reunite with many years later as we checked-in to our family medicine internship. Little did I know just two years after that reuniting we would serve as the senior leaders of our residency program.
For me, had this event back on October 5th never occurred many of the things that I get to be a part of today would not be happening. I would have never made many of the friendships that I enjoy. I likely would have never met my wife. I also don’t believe I would have reunited with childhood friends and classmates from that small and beautiful coastal town located amongst the great Pacific Ocean and amazing redwood trees in Northern California.
Pivotal in so many ways. And my over-riding vision continues to be fulfilled as I help others figure out which pivotal moment is next for them.